Stress at work increases the risk of asthma

A couple of weeks ago Word on Health reported that working too hard may be bad for your heart.  Now, there’s evidence that it’s also bad for your lungs!

According to a new study, employees who find it difficult to leave their problems at the office are much more likely to develop asthma. The research showed that having a stressful job can increase the risk of developing asthma by 40%.

Although most sufferers develop asthma in childhood, significant numbers are now diagnosed as adults. The research, from Heidelberg University in Germany, suggests stress at work could be one reason why. Researchers tracked 5,000 men and women, aged between 40 and 65, over eight years.

They found that among those free of asthma at the start of the project, there was up to a 40% higher incidence of asthma eight years later, if they suffered stress at work.

The signs were long working hours, demanding schedules and uncomfortable working conditions.

The report, detailed in Allergy, said: ‘Our study suggests work stress and the inability to relax after work are associated with an increased risk of asthma.’

Earlier studies have shown stress can lead to the release of chemicals that promote allergies and disrupt the way the body halts inflammation of the airways.

The team stressed that the absolute risk of someone developing asthma because they are overloaded at work is still very small.

Nevertheless, next time you’re asked to work late, you may want to stop and think of your health.